Sunday, October 21, 2007

Up she rises

It was sunny and 24C here in Toronto today, and local mariners sensed this might be the last chance they'd get to get their boats out in decent weather. So, all across the city (and I'd wager the whole Great Lakes), cranes, winches, and boat ramps were in overdrive as an annual autumn ritual -- the boat pull-out -- hit full stride.

Swimming against the current, as usual, I decided to put my small craft in and go for a paddle. I was rewarded with a front-row seat near a local marina down on the harbour. Here is an old beauty called the Yali, or some such, that looks like she's seen her fair share of cranes:

Step 1: Slide slings under boat. Once chain is taut, quickly evacuate before lifting begins. Wonder if boat insurance policy really covers this.

Step 2: Clear water. Pray to Poseidon, benevolent god of the sea, that the hull holds together.

Step 3: The really tense part where the boat is slung out over the cement wharf, which would destroy her instantly if the line snapped and she came crashing down. The good news? The innocent bystanders would cushion the blow somewhat.

Step 4: White knuckle time. She is, as they say, in God's hands now.

Step 5: Home free. Whisper a silent thanks to Poseidon for watching over your tiny vessel and throw a tarp over the old girl. Promptly forget about her until spring, when it's time to paint that nasty algae-encrusted bottom. Again.

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